UAE eyes ‘new re­la­tions in Gulf’ amid Qatar spat

Doha says new black­list ‘dis­ap­point­ing sur­prise’

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

A top of­fi­cial in the Arab quar­tet iso­lat­ing Qatar said the bloc must “go on with­out” it and pur­sue “new re­gional re­la­tion­ships” - phrases that hint at a more se­vere break with the tiny en­ergy-rich Gulf state. The United Arab Emi­rates Min­is­ter of State for For­eign Re­la­tions An­war Al-Gar­gash made the com­ments yes­ter­day on Twit­ter, say­ing it’s time to think about a “new set of re­la­tions in (the) Gulf re­plac­ing old ones”. “We have to go on with­out Qatar; a con­ser­va­tive Gulf monar­chy, in (a) to­tally anachro­nis­tic place. Pro­mot­ing poli­cies and val­ues it does not prac­tice,” he wrote.

Mean­while, Qatar said yes­ter­day that a new black­list re­leased by Saudi Ara­bia and its al­lies came as a “dis­ap­point­ing sur­prise” in the diplo­matic cri­sis that has split the Gulf. The four Arab gov­ern­ments named 18 or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­di­vid­u­als on Tues­day that they ac­cused of links with Is­lamist ex­trem­ism and Qatar.

The move by Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates, Egypt and Bahrain came de­spite mount­ing in­ter­na­tional pres­sure to com­pro­mise in their weeks-old boy­cott of their fel­low US ally.

Qatari govern­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al-Thani said the black­list had no ba­sis in fact and was aimed at strip­ping the emi­rate of its sovereignty. “It comes as a dis­ap­point­ing sur­prise that the blockad­ing coun­tries are still pur­su­ing this story as part of their smear cam­paign against Qatar,” he said in a state­ment. “This lat­est list pro­vides fur­ther ev­i­dence that the blockad­ing coun­tries are not com­mit­ted to the fight against ter­ror­ism.

“All in­di­vid­u­als with links to ter­ror­ism in Qatar have been pros­e­cuted. We en­cour­age the blockad­ing coun­tries to spend less time on draft­ing these fab­ri­cated lists and more time on im­ple­ment­ing mea­sures to counter the threat of ex­trem­ism in their own coun­tries.” The four gov­ern­ments is­sued a pre­vi­ous black­list of 59 in­di­vid­u­als and 12 groups last month. Sheikh Saif said it had been “widely re­jected by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity”.

Saudi Ara­bia and its al­lies have been boy­cotting Qatar since June 5 in the re­gion’s worst diplo­matic cri­sis in years. They sealed the emi­rate’s only land bor­der, or­dered its cit­i­zens to leave and closed their airspace and wa­ters to Qatari flights and ship­ping. They de­manded that Qatar break its long­stand­ing ties with the Mus­lim Brother­hood, black­listed as a “ter­ror group” by the four gov­ern­ments al­though not by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. They also de­manded that it close broad­cast­ing gi­ant Al-Jazeera and a Turk­ish mil­i­tary base, and fall in line with Saudi-led pol­icy in the re­gion, par­tic­u­larly to­wards Iran.

Qatar has dis­missed the de­mands as a vi­o­la­tion of its sovereignty and has re­ceived sig­nif­i­cant sup­port from its ally Turkey. US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son, who last week spent four days in the re­gion try­ing to bro­ker a set­tle­ment of the cri­sis, has voiced sat­is­fac­tion with Qatar’s ef­forts to ad­dress any sus­pi­cion of ter­ror fund­ing. But af­ter talks with Euro­pean Union diplo­matic chief Fed­er­ica Mogherini on Tues­day, Egyp­tian For­eign Min­is­ter Sameh Shoukry warned that the four gov­ern­ments would ac­cept no com­pro­mise in their dis­pute with Qatar. “We can­not com­pro­mise with any form of ter­ror­ism, we can­not com­pro­mise or en­ter into any form of ne­go­ti­a­tions,” Shoukry told a press con­fer­ence. — Agen­cies

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